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Most people know that poor dental health can lead to cavities, bad breath, and gum disease. But did you know that neglecting your brushing routine could put you at risk of a heart attack or stroke?
Poor dental hygiene causes gum disease, which can lead to other health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia. One of the most common warning signs of gum disease is inflammation. Gingivitis, a condition in which your gums become inflamed, occurs when there is a buildup of plaque on your teeth.
Swollen, tender gums that bleed easily are a sign of gingivitis. Not treated properly, this condition can escalate to periodontitis. When this happens, the gum tissue begins to pull away from the teeth, allowing harmful bacteria to form pockets beneath the gumline, attack the bone, and enter the bloodstream.
Any bacteria that slip into your bloodstream through the network of blood vessels in your mouth can be carried to your heart. The bacteria can cause inflammation and arterial plaque, which restricts the amount of blood that’s able to flow to your heart and puts you at a higher risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Once you develop periodontitis, no amount of brushing and flossing will be sufficient, and a professional cleaning at a dentist’s office is necessary. The best defense against gum disease is a proper brushing and flossing routine. If your gum problems persist, speak to your dentist as soon as you can. Periodontitis is treatable through deep cleaning and antibiotics. You’ll immediately feel better, and you’ll lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Dr. Alexa Alborzi is a certified orthodontic specialist providing comprehensive orthodontic care for the children, teens, and adults of San Mateo and Half Moon Bay. Dr. Alborzi earned her BA. degree in Biochemistry from University of California, Berkeley was trained at University of California San Francisco, School of Dentistry. Dr. Alborzi has served as a respected professor at the University of San Francisco, School of Dentistry for over fourteen years. Additionally, Dr. Alborzi was voted by her community in 2019 as the Bay Area Best of the Best.